Elanco vaccine production firm bought Boehringer plant

Veterinary medicine maker Elanco U.S. Inc. arrived in Fort Dodge in early 2017

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
The Elanco plant on the northwest side of Fort Dodge displays the company logo at the corner of the property.

Veterinary medicine maker Elanco U.S. Inc. arrived in Fort Dodge in early 2017 and by the end of the year had moved even more production work to its facility on the city’s northwest side.

The company, which is part of Eli Lilly and Co., bought the plant at 800 Fifth St. N.W. from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc., along with its vaccine products for dogs and cats, for $885 million.

The deal was announced on Oct. 5, 2016, and was concluded on Jan. 27, 2017.

“We’re excited to further increase our commercial, R and D, manufacturing and other capabilities in vaccines through the addition of knowledgeable and experienced personnel at the Fort Dodge site,” company spokeswoman Keri McGrath Happe said in January 2017. “This site is unique for Elanco in that it is a fully integrated R and D and manufacturing facility, including clinical trial facilities.”

In September 2017, the company announced plans to close its facility in Larchwood and move the production of cattle and swine vaccines from there to Fort Dodge.

Dennis Plautz, the chief executive officer of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, said the move was a good one for the local plant.

“Obviously, I think it increases the viability of the plant by making it a more diverse plant,” he said. “Clearly, this is good news.”

Elanco U.S. Inc. has about 445 workers and is one of the biggest employers in Webster County.

The company acquired the local plant after Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica decided to sell it to comply with the requirements imposed as part of a separate transaction.

In December 2015, that company, based in Germany, announced a deal with Sanofi, based in France.

Under the terms of that deal, Sanofi gave Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. its animal health business, called Merial. That company had a plant at 2116 Eighth Ave. S. from 1989 to 2000.

In return, Boehringer Ingelheim gave Sanofi its consumer health care businesses, except those based in China, and cash.

To prevent Boehringer Ingelheim from becoming an unfair monopoly after acquiring Merial, the Federal Trade Commission required it to sell some of its pet vaccine capacity. The Elanco deal resulted from that directive.